The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. Early usages included mechanical power for transformation activities, such as milling and sawing, and for irrigation. As well, rivers have been used for transportation purposes, such as moving logs from forests to industrial centers.

Currently, hydroelectricity is the major form of usable energy produced from flowing water. To produce hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed at the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin as well and thus generate electricity.

The amount of energy extracted from flowing water depends on the volume of water and its speed. Usually, a hydroelectric station is built at a sharp incline or waterfall to take advantage of the speed gained by the water as a result of gravity. Dams are built at some locations to help regulate the flow of water and, therefore, the electricity generation.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

To learn more about hydroelectricity, visit Hydro-Québec's website.

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